Memphis Pushes To Level The Playing Field For Black Entrepreneurs | HuffPost
MEMPHIS, Tenn. ― Darrell Cobbins’ grandfather was a real estate man.
Samuel Peace opened Peace Realty in 1959, a company whose legacy includes building Memphis’ first neighborhood for middle-income African-Americans ― the 600-home Lakeview Gardens subdivision.
“I grew up seeing him go to work six days a week. He had six children, a wife that didn’t work and he provided for all of them,” Cobbins said. “From an entrepreneurship standpoint, I’ve seen a great model for success ― especially black entrepreneurship.”
Shortly before Peace died, Cobbins’ mother showed him a 1967 edition of the Memphis Press-Scimitar that included the headline “Negroes Climb Ladder To Success.” The piece profiled 10 black businessmen of the era, including Benjamin Hooks, a civil rights attorney who ran his own law firm before becoming the first black criminal court judge in a court of record in Tennessee; A.W. Willis, another local civil rights attorney who opened the city’s first integrated law firm and founded Mutual Federal Savings and Loan in 1955; Antonio Maceo Walker, whose family founded the Universal Life Insurance company and Tri-State Bank, which supported black entrepreneurs that had been denied loans; and Peace.